The acquisition of word-initial [v]

David Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


It is a well-documented fact that word-initial [v] (or [v-]) is not acquired in English until quite late, with group data indicating around age 4;0. Recently, Locke (1983) has proposed a biological explanation for this, claiming that [v] is one of a group of sounds that are acquired late due to their acoustic and/or articulatory properties. This is in contradiction to the position stated in Ingram (in press, a) where order of acquisition is determined by a sound's function in the phonological system. Here, phonological analyses are presented from three children acquiring Swedish, Estonian, and Bulgarian respectively, which show [v-] as one of the earliest sounds acquired. It is concluded that this is due to the more prominent role that [v-] plays in the lexicon of these languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalLanguage and Speech
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • acquisition
  • phonology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Speech and Hearing


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